Lapp Group North America Expands Sales Opportunities with Alteryx and Tableau
Since 1959, the Lapp Group has been a worldwide market leader in innovative cables, industrial connectors, accessories, and engineered solutions. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, Lapp Group has more than 2,600 employees and develops, manufactures, and sells more than 40,000 products. The company's North American subsidiary, Lapp Group North America, is based in New Jersey.
"We conduct the majority of our business with distributors," explained Marybeth Marx, Vice President of Marketing at Lapp Group North America. "These distributors are like supermarkets providing supplies that make electricity reliable for industrial machines in manufacturing environments."
Deeper Insights: Produced insights that empower the Lapp Group salesforce to proactively approach distributors with specific solutions and product mixes that meet the needs of the end customer.
Minutes vs. Hours: Analyzed thousands of transactions and data variables in less than 10 minutes, a process that once took four hours to complete every month.
Intuitive Workflow: Easily added new data sources to workflows for analysis of the end customers' needs without hiring additional analysts.
Because the company primarily sells its products through distributors, Lapp Group — and its salesforce — found it difficult to understand how its end customers were using its products, impacting its ability to meet customers' needs and identify cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
"Distributors are aggregators, so in most cases when we sell to them we don't have visibility into how frequently their customers are buying or which products each customer buys," says Marx. "And trying to bring together data from multiple sources in order to better understand the thousands of sales transactions we do every month was tedious and time-consuming because the match points across those data sources was different. Each distributor takes our products and gives them a different name, a different part number, and a different description; they have different aliases, if you will, for information we want to know."
Continues Marx, "I would have had to hire three people who did nothing but bring together data from multiple sources and match that data to decode items. We needed a faster way to match the data and identify buying patterns."
Before building out a solution, Lapp looked at how the marketing and sales teams would use the insights. "Working with DecisionViz, an Alteryx and Tableau partner, we constructed a storyboard and built things more as analytics stories," says Marx. "It was very powerful to understand how Alteryx and Tableau would work together from the start to accomplish our objectives."
With Alteryx, Lapp was able to prep, blend, and analyze data from multiple sources — distributors' files and systems, third-party syndicated data, and Lapp's own data — in one repeatable workflow. Then, using Tableau for data visualization, Lapp could show its sales team the exact sources of customer demand, both by geography and by industry. Lapp can then use that information to aggregate end customers by vertical market and develop insights into buying patterns that can drive new sales opportunities.
For example, a Lapp salesperson can see how a particular in-district food and beverage company compares with similar companies across the region and country. The result? If Lapp notices that a customer is purchasing less of a specific product than one from a similar company, the salesperson can put that company on its target list, thereby pursuing a high-value target — and improving sales productivity.
"The Alteryx solution helps us tell our distributor that we know how to help them make more money,'" says Marx. "That just means the distributor is more likely to work with the Lapp salesperson to increase sales."
"We simply couldn't do what we're trying to do if we didn't have a tool like Alteryx; it just wouldn't scale."
Vice President of Marketing
Lapp Group North America.
With Alteryx, Lapp can now analyze several thousands of transactions and data variables from its own systems as well as those of its distributors, third parties, and end-customers for a monthly report, in less than 10 minutes — a process that once took four hours to complete. That quick analysis, along with accompanying Tableau visualizations, produced insights that significantly help the Lapp sales team to work with distributors to create specific solutions and product mixes that best meet the needs of the end customer.
"Never before have we had this level of visibility into our end customers' buying patterns and other purchasing behavior," comments Marx. "Before Alteryx, it took our analyst half a day just to organize data for one of our monthly reports. Now that same analysis takes less than 10 minutes."
What's more, Lapp USA can easily add new data sources to workflows without hiring additional analysts, improving overall productivity. Beyond solving the team's initial problem, Marx notes that her team is investigating new ways to use Alteryx to solve business problems in other areas of the company.
Marx summarizes her company's use of Alteryx by saying, "At the end of the day, the guy with more information wins, and that's the bet we're making. If we improve the quantity and quality of our information, then we'll be able to design better, more successful sales calls that can more directly identify opportunities."